ST. CHARLES, Missouri — The holidays have passed, everyone is relaxing after a busy holiday season, and many are staying strong to their New Year’s Resolutions.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an app to help people deal with their in-laws over the break or a website that drags people to the gym, but there are web- and app-based services that make it easier to become more aware of your impact on global poverty. It may be too late to be a more conscious consumer for the holidays, but it is not too late to make it your New Year’s Resolution to do so. Here are four great websites that will help you be more aware of your impact as a consumer in the New Year.
Slavery Footprint’s web- and app-based service takes your everyday choices and asks you to consider what lies deep within the supply chains you love. Consider the example of one’s morning coffee—an estimated 200,000 child slaves work in Ivory Coast alone harvesting 40 percent of the world’s cocoa beans.
SlaveryFootprint.org also allows users to calculate their total slavery footprint. This number represents the number of forced laborers that were likely to be involved in creating and manufacturing the products they purchase. Users can access the app while shopping to let retailers know that they would be willing to pay more for slave-free goods.
Visit their website to find out how many slaves work for you or download the “Made in a Free World” app from the iTunes Store or the Google Play Store.
Free2Work.org also offers a web- and app-based service that allows users to easily browse company grades and information, get updates from other activists, and much more. The service provides information on how products relate to modern-day slavery.
This app is truly unprecedented; it includes built-in barcode scanning technology that enables consumers to scan the barcode of a specific product and instantly gain access to information about that company’s efforts to address forced and child labor in its supply chain. Scanning products allows users to view company ratings, browse industry-specific news articles, and receive factoids about that industry. The app offers information on more than 10,000 products by approximately 400 brands.
NotForSaleCampaign.org reported that it is updating and assessing the app now and it should be revamped and launched soon. Their website is still being updated constantly. Keep an eye out for the launch of their new and improved app and check out this video on how it works.
FoodIsPower.org is a great website for learning how your food choices change the world. One example of a consumer resource that this site provides is a free app, “Chocolate List,” that provides a list that reflects Food Empowerment Project’s most recent research on companies that make vegan products containing chocolate to find out if they source their chocolate from areas where slavery can still be found. Because the demand for cocoa is increasing, farmers often resort to the use of child labor to keep their prices competitive.
FoodIsPower.org explains, “the truth is that consumers today have no sure way of knowing if the chocolate they are buying involved the use of slavery or child labor. There are many different labels on chocolate bars today, such as various fair trade certifications and the Rainforest Alliance Certification; however, no single label can guarantee that the chocolate was made without the use of exploitive labor.”
Get the free “Chocolate List” app for your Apple devices or download it from the Google Play Store. The non-comprehensive list that is continuously being updated can also be found on their website.
If you don’t have the capability of downloading apps or accessing websites on-the-go, look for The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. It is an internationally recognized symbol of environmental, social and economic sustainability.
According to Rainforest-Alliance.org, “In order for a farm or forestry enterprise to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification, or for a tourism business to be verified, it must meet rigorous standards designed to protect ecosystems, safeguard the well-being of local communities and improve productivity.”
The campaign to “follow the frog” is one easy way to ensure that consumers are making smart decisions in an effort to help developing nations and the environment. Just look for the green seal on the products you buy—if they have the frog, consumers can rest assured that it is a sustainably sourced and ethically produced good.
Rainforest-Alliance.org has numerous educational and consumer resources available on their website. Updates and more information on their “Follow the Frog” campaign can be found online.
Check out the Rainforest Alliance’s “Follow the Frog” video or get the kids involved by downloading their “Rainforest Survival Challenge” app for iPad or the “Habitat” app for Android and iPhones.
– Eastin Shipman